“When spring will come to the city on the Neva?” This is probably the most frequently asked question in our latitudes. Dear friends, SPIBA has the answer: within our walls, Spring is already in full force, and has warmed us with the rays of new events, people, views, knowledge and creativity! Let us tell you which experiences our long-awaited first month of Spring has brought our community.

On the first day of spring, the Committee on Legislation and Lobbying organized a conference on a topic that has become very relevant since the beginning of this year: “Trends in the customs legislation. Russia in the WTO: Implications for business.” This topic was covered in detail on all sides, from the theoretical (St. Petersburg State University Professor Sergei Sutyrin), to the practical (Igor Nitsenko, first deputy chief of the Baltic Customs Service).

March 13 participants of the event Look@It were lucky to visit the plant of General Motors. We were introduced to the process of assembling cars and had a fascinating tour of the plant. Factory Director John Jones prepared a presentation, which described the progress made by General Motors since its arrival in Russia and St. Petersburg.

What can the end of March be associated with? With the coming of the sun, heat, long walks and the awakening of nature… But let us not forget about the more prosaic things … that it’s time to make a declaration of taxes on personal income! We remember all the needs of our members, so on March 14 the Finance Committee held a workshop on completing the declaration of personal income tax. We hope that the seminar was useful for you, and look forward to proposals for our future meetings!

15 March this year was a very significant day for the life of our association. At the first General Meeting in 2012, in addition to an open and lively discussion with the chairman of the Finance Committee of St. Petersburg, Edward V. Batanov, the elections to the SPIBA Executive Committee and Executive Director took place. We are pleased and proud to announce that Karina Khabacheva was elected to the post of Executive Director and wish her new brilliant ideas and success implementing them in her new role! We also congratulate the new members of the Executive Committee, we are always happy with the inflow of fresh blood and new initiatives!

March 20 A SPIBA strategic session was held that helped to define the strategy of the association for the near future, to understand our competitive advantages and possible points of growth, set new goals that we want to achieve by the end of 2012 and to identify new directions in which our members can develop their business. We thank very active friends of association, who participated in the session; we got a terrific charge from your ideas, which will last for a long time!

March 22, we gathered again in the hospitable walls of the Graduate School of Management at a seminar on “Science and the art of transformational leadership,” by Kai-Alexander Shlefogt, Doctor of Philosophy (Oxford University), Professor of Strategic and International Management GSOM. Kai-Alexander held a seminar in English, and spoke about the development of the transformational leadership model, and explained what tools a manager can use to increase the effectiveness of his company.

We remind you that January 31, 2012, we launched a new project format, “Breakfast with the Director.” The long-awaited second meeting was held on March 28, to which we invited the Vice-President of Lindstrom, Andrey Zhavoronkov. At the informal discussion, Andrey spoke about his personal and career development, the growth of Lindstrom, and the characteristics of the selection, management and development of personnel in his company that make it successful and unique.

March 29 The British Consulate General, with the informational support of SPIBA, organized an event on “Business, human rights and the rule of law” with the participation of Professor Robert McCorquodale, director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL). The unusual combination of concepts in the topic aroused great interest among lawyers, businessmen and representatives of judicial institutions. Professor McCorquodale, using illustrative examples, demonstrated a strong connection between these three elements, while sharing examples of state prosecution for violations of human rights by companies both domestically and abroad.

Friday, March 30 we were happy to exclaim, “Thank god it’s Friday!” We had the pleasure of bringing together delicious cocktails at a unique SPIBA Get Together party in the new hotel Domina Prestige! The program prepared by the creative team of the hotel pleased all the guests, included gourmet appetizers, exclusive cocktails, presentation of the top management of the hotel, a tour of the hotel, a barman show, as well as a lottery with wonderful prizes!

See you soon, friends!